She wasn’t in the staring lineup for the Hoosiers, and she didn’t play the most minutes against Slippery Rock on Sunday afternoon, but junior guard Karlee McBride stole the show in the 98-33 rout of the Rock.
McBride came off the bench midway through the first quarter when she checked in for junior Tyshee Towner, who got the start at the 2-guard position, and immediately made her presence felt, as she hit a three-point shot within her first minute on the floor.
The junior finished the game with 20 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in 26 minutes of play.
“I thought she played really well,” sophomore forward Amanda Cahill said. “Not just scoring, either. She got some rebounds and played really well defensively, which is something we’re going to need this year.”
McBride recorded a team-high seven assists, and many of those assists came in transition, as the guard also accounted for a team-high of three steals.
Highlighting her plays in transition were passes to Cahill and junior forward Alexis Gassion.
Her assist to Gassion received many loud cheers in Assembly Hall. McBride stole the ball, brought it across midcourt and lofted it near the basket to the forward. Gassion caught the ball and laid it in for two.
“She was so excited before the game actually,” Gassion said about McBride and the play. “In practice this morning, she’s like, ‘Lex, I’m gonna hit you with the alley. I’m gonna hit you with that alley.’ She got it, so she was very excited.”
McBride’s second highlight play was also in transition with a trailing Cahill. She bounce-passed the ball behind her back to Cahill, who laid it in.
The crowd’s reaction was even louder than her first play, and her teammates on the bench reacted with jumps and cheers, as the guard was performing at a higher level than most had anticipated.
“I kind of thought she was going to pass it to me,” Cahill said. “The behind-the-back kind of threw me off, but it was an awesome pass and I was happy. She had a really good start to her season.”
McBride also took the most shots behind the arc, as she attempted six and converted on three of them. IU Coach Teri Moren made note of her strength from three-point range but also said the team needs to be careful with understanding everyone’s roles on the team.
Moren mentioned both McBride and Towner when talking about knowing roles within the team, as Towner attempted four three-point shots and only made one.
“We’ve got to be very careful with some of our players’ knowing their roles and knowing their strengths and understanding when it’s their opportunity to attack off the ball screen or kick out and spot up for an open shot,” Moren said. “I think the same thing with Tyshee. I thought both of those ladies were very aggressive today, but Tyshee Towner’s strength is not from behind the arc.”
Moren said that while players need to understand their roles on the team, it’s hard to tell them not to take open shots, but at the same time, she wants to avoid anybody becoming greedy within her role.
At any rate, the Hoosiers put 98 points on the scoreboard and kept Slippery Rock to 33, but Moren said she sees a lot of room for improvement, especially in terms of finding a balance within the offense, as the team put up a combined 25 three-point attempts.
“I want our team to have some balance, okay?” Moren said. “I want Tyra (Buss) to keep pushing the ball and finding some early offense, but we’re going to need to find some offense on the inside. We’re going to need some balance.”